Nile Cruisers

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Sep 6th, 2003, 02:14 PM
  #1
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Nile Cruisers

I am interested in going to Egypt sometime in the near future. Can anyone tell me what is the BEST nile ship or cruise line to travel on? Do I have to or should I go to Egypt with a travel company? What is the best travel company that goes to Egypt? Can I just hire a guide for each city, or do the Nile cruises have shore excursions like a normal cruise?
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Sep 6th, 2003, 02:15 PM
  #2
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I want to correct the title- Nile Cruise's- Thank you.
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Sep 6th, 2003, 04:31 PM
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Sargent, many travelers, like my wife and I, to Egypt may have experience with only one tour company so it may be difficult to really comment on BEST. Selecting a company may require considerable homework on your part. And, such should also depend on your desires, tolerance, budget, etc. Do you want to be part of a larger group, do you want to have "exclusive" use of a guide, do you want to see variety or focus on a lesser number of places, sights, etc? In our deciding to go to the Middle East in 2000 we opted to go with a tour company and then read up on several after our travel agent provided us brochures to get us started. We decided to go with a Globus tour which offered an itinery covering a variety of Egyptian sites. Thus, we had a guide for the entire tour including the time on the Nile cruise. All arrangements were handled for us yet there were a couple of optional activites for added variety. So, it all depends on what you want. But, a great asset of this site is that once you decide on an approach you can then be more specific in the feedback you are seeking. I really, really, benefited from such when we planned our trip to East Africa last year. Now I return to Fodors.com for almost daily infusions of travel adventure from fellow travelers. Like others I will be glad to comment on the trip we had if such will help you in making a decision. Good luck.
Dick
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Sep 6th, 2003, 05:37 PM
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Let me be more specific- we are a family of four, two adults and two teenagers. We have never traveled with a group before and we don't really want to but if it is the best way to see things then we would do it. However, I would prefer smaller groups. In terms of sights and activites, at this point we have not done a lot of research because we want to know some basic facts before we really delve into this; such as: are there any nice (ie clean, luxurious...) nile cruise ships, can Egypt be done without going on a tour, is Egypt safe to visit right now? On many vacations I have looked through brochures and looked online and the information is fairly limited. So really any form or information would suffice. Thanks.
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Sep 7th, 2003, 12:29 AM
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Hello,

Last January my mom and I traveled to Egypt for 2.5 weeks on our own, so yes it can be done, and I do recommend it! We booked a 3 night Nile cruise using an Egyptian agency (dont have the name with me at the moment) and during that time we had a private guide for the sites during the cruise. The boat was nice, it was said to be 5 stars but I saw others much nicer. It all depends on what you want to pay.

I would really recommend not using a tour group, but you will need to have some patience and do lots of research for getting around, bargaining etc. I felt it payed off for the independance, and you can easily hire a guide for whatever you want. Whatever way you choose, just go! Egypt is amazing and yes it was safe to travel, I would go back in an instant!
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Sep 7th, 2003, 02:59 AM
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When we went to Egypt with our 2 teenagers we chose a group - and we also had never traveled with a group before. I am sure it is possible and can work quite well to do Egypt on your own. And we thought of many advantages to doing it that way. But, in the end, since we only had the 10 days during a school break, we are glad we did not try to do it on our own. I am sure we missed some of what others in smaller groups saw, but, for us, it did not seem right for this trip.

Depending on season, many historic sights will be crowded no matter how you go. Our guide took us to pyramids, Valley of Kings etc. very early in AM (5 AM wakeup call) in order to avoid much of heat and crowds. Having read many of the Egypt posts here both before and after our trip, I would suggest you hire guides/etc. before you go - or at least make firm arrangements. The time we spent on our own were some of the most interesting and frustrating of our trip - just asking someone for directions on the street in Cairo sent us off on an adventure no where near where we wanted to go. (To his "uncle's" perfume shop) Scamming tourists is part of the adventure of Egypt, and even though we consider ourselve experienced travelers, we almost fell into a few.

Agree with above poster - however you do it, just go. Our kids still talk about it 2 years later like it was yesterday.
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Sep 7th, 2003, 12:25 PM
  #7
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There was an earlier post with the official Egyptian Tourism recommendations for tour companies.

http://www.egyptbot.com

I would recommend MISR Travel (friends used them and were very satisfied).

As to US companies, A&K is out there and is the most expensive and yet they do the same itinerary as other companies. Granted the cruise boat they use looked more like a yacht, it isn't necessary to spend all that money.

So there are companies like Gate-1, Isram, Globus and others who do group and independent tours - I'd still recommend contacting MISR and design your own trip taking into considertion your needs.

Generally tours consist of a few days in Cairo (Giza, Pyramids, Sphinx, Saqqara, Memphis, the Museum, Khan Khalili Bazaar, Old Cairo, etc.) then fly to Luxor or Aswan for your cruise. Cruise can be 4nt/5days or 3nt/4days. The latter will leave you with an extra day in either Luxor of Aswan. There are some tours that do a 7-day cruise (which I hope to someday get back and do the extra 2-days).

Then there is the trip to Abu Simbel usually from Aswan. Some tours do an overnight here, to see the temples without tourists and at night.

In addition to the Nile Cruise, there has been now for about 5-7 years cruises on Lake Nassar to visit sites rarely seen by tourists; and these boats at absolutely beautiful - though honestly, I'd recommend this cruise after having first done the standard Egypt tour.

You might want to go out to one of the Oasises, like Fayoum or Bahariya where they recently unearthed the golden masked mummies. You can also add some days and go over to Sharm el Sheikh for beach, diving and relaxation.

You can get a private guide for the time you are in Cairo, then on the cruise boat you can request a private guide or go with the guide the boat provides for English speaking tourists traveling independently. Our group was only about 15 people and you didn't feel like you were with a group - it was very relaxed.

We spent an extra day in Cairo on our own to shop and see some additional sights and while attempting to cross the street is the closest we've ever felt to "death on earth" - we survived; we just grabbed onto the gallabeya of an Egyptian and stayed close. Everyplace we went we fround the Egyptians were very helpful and gracious. The one time we felt turned-around and not sure of our surroundings, we just stopped into a "hubble-bubble" shop and the men were more than glad to direct us, one even walked us to our destination.

Get some good guidebooks and decide what you want out of your trip (see/do), how long you want to visit, the various hotels and cruise boats available and your budget - then contact the tour operator with specifics and get a quote.
 
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